Plan Ahead, Get Organized for Exam Success

Although juniors Maddie Janki (left rear) and Carly Irvine (right rear) like to study by themselves, it’s helpful to juniors Conor Hartman (left front) and Regan Bates to study together. Photo: Eden Kerker

Winter break is right around the corner, but before students pack their bags or settle in for some serious relaxation, they must get through the overwhelming exam week. With five exams in five days, these assessments are notorious for the stress that comes with them. Some students have already found the perfect way to study, but others are still testing different study habits to fit their style.

Some work better by themselves, but don’t be afraid to call out for help. Talk to teachers, enlist a peer tutor from the ARC or call up some classmates and create a study group. Study groups are great because with more people, you can get more help, more perspectives and more questions answered.

However, they can be distracting, so if you think you work better as an individual, close your doors and buckle down. If you don’t know, try both, but make sure to start studying earlier so you have time to switch up your study methods if you need to.

Quizlet, Prezi and YouTube videos are all great resources, but teachers are the most invaluable resource. They are the ones who make the tests and they want all of their students to do well. Make use of after school time and teachers’ specific tutorial times the day before each exam. Emailing is also an option, but visiting teachers face to face is more valuable.

Organization is key. You can make a separate binder for each of your classes, use one big binder or just have piles stacked at home. But make sure you are organized. Organization makes you more efficient and releases stress. There are many different ways to organize, so find a method that is specifically helpful to you. You can color code, place in chronological order or split your materials up by your tests, quizzes and notes.

You should not be cramming or procrastinating, because your brain can’t handle so much work in such little time. Parents can be overbearing and can put pressure on you to be working as hard as you can all the time, but everyone needs to give their brain a rest. You can’t retain information if your brain is fried. Pick up a ball or turn on some video games for a quick study break.

When exams are just around the corner, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed. Stress can accumulate when you don’t know how to start studying or how to organize your study time. No exam is the same, so there may be a different way to study for each. Start studying early to give yourself enough time to try different methods and find what works best for you.